Type III Secretion Systems (T3SSs) are highly organized multi-protein nanomachines which translocate effector proteins from the bacterial cytosol directly into host cells. These systems are required for the pathogenesis of a wide array of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, and thus have attracted attention as potential antibacterial drug targets. A decade of research has enabled the identification of natural products, conventional small molecule drug-like structures, and proteins that inhibit T3SSs. The mechanism(s) of action and molecular target(s) of the majority of these inhibitors remain to be determined. At the same time, structural biology methods are providing an increasingly detailed picture of the functional arrangement of the T3SS component proteins. The confluence of these two research areas may ultimately identify non-classical drug targets and facilitate the development of novel therapeutics.
Keywords: Type III secretion, virulence, Gram-negative bacteria, high-throughput screening, antibiotic drug discovery, T3SSs, Caminosides, Guadinomines, structural biology, benzanilides